Blood Protein May Predict Brain Decline
Could a simple blood test show a person's risk of developing dementia? According to a new study at Kings College in London, scientists have found a chemical in blood that appears to signal if people will develop declining brain function.
The researchers recruited 200 twins and analyzed levels of 1,129 proteins circulating in their blood. This data was then compared with results from cognitive-function tests over the next 10 years. They determined that levels of one protein, called MAPKAPK5, were lower in those people whose brains declined. This protein is involved in relaying chemical messages within the body, but its actual link to cognitive decline is not yet known.
Future trials need to be done to see whether the protein levels link directly to dementia development. But if additional research supports the findings, it could be a big step forward in the treatment of Alzheimer's because experts say early detection can make a big difference in how effectively it can be treated.